The amateur gentleman has a venerable history in English sport, but as I drove my sit-up-and-beg stroller through the parking lot of The Royal hotel in Ventnor, I began to suspect I was on the point of testing the concept (and maybe my bike) to destruction.
I was on the Isle of Wight with LeBlanq, a new travel agency that offers cycling enthusiasts the opportunity to ride with some of the biggest names in cycling while stocking up on gourmet foods prepared by the greats. toques of gastronomy. Sir Bradley Wiggins was the star attraction on the road, while in the kitchen it was the two Michelin star Claude Bosi of Bibendum in London’s Chelsea.
In the parking lot, now refueling, I wondered if I was even going to be allowed to sit in the saddle. “This is going to be interesting,” said assistance rider Karla, giving my solid Reynolds steel frame a questionable rebound while doing her best to withstand a knock from a Pashley Ding-Dong bell on the handlebars. When LeBlanq founder Justin Clarke, a former professional cyclist who was previously Managing Director of Taste Cooking Festivals, asked me if I would rather borrow a £ 12,000 Pinarello Dogma F12, it sounded more like an instruction than a question. .
I was very glad he did, however. As I propelled the Pinarello’s carbon frame up the steep slopes out of town, I felt like I had swapped a Volvo station wagon for a Ferrari – or maybe an Aston Martin DB11, a fleet of which followed the 60 “. joyriders “from LeBlanq around the island. as supercar support vehicles.